Can Only Pastors Baptize People?

Can a Holy Spirit filled believer baptize another believer? Or does it have to be a pastor who does it? What does the Bible say? This is a question asked by non-clergy Christians often.

The Bible never says anything about who should do the baptizing. There are actually only two water baptisms recorded in the New Testament (post Pentecost). Acts 8:26-40 when Phillip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch after his profession of faith in Jesus as the promised Messiah. Phillip was not a pastor. And Acts 10:46-48 when Peter baptized Cornelius and his household after they received the Holy Spirit.

In both cases the emphasis was not on who did the baptizing but on the proof of faith by those getting baptized. If it was important who did the baptizing you can be sure God would’ve made it clear in His word if it was a sin for anyone other than a pastor to baptize someone. What the Bible does put emphasis on is the understanding of baptism (what it represents) and the proof of faith by the one being baptized. Therefore, we can safely conclude that the important thing is not who does the baptizing but that both parties have a sound understanding of baptism and there is proof of faith by both individuals.

Baptism should be a memorable experience. It’s a once in a lifetime thing that has a deep significance in the believers life. There’s no reason it can’t be done by another believer. I think that sharing it with another believer of personal significance to you makes it all the more memorable.

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Copyright © Lawrence Joseph Sterling 2016. All rights reserved.